August 13th, 2008
06:26 PM ET
6 years ago

Colin Powell adviser: He has not yet made his pick

Powell, a Republican, has said he may not back the GOP pick this cycle.
Powell, a Republican, has said he may not back the GOP pick this cycle.

(CNN) – Colin Powell’s office denied a FOX report by commentator Bill Kristol Wednesday that the retired general had decided to publicly back Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

Several sources told CNN the former Bush Secretary of State has not yet made a decision about a possible endorsement. “As always, he is holding his cards close and waiting for more information," one adviser close to Powell told CNN’s John King.

Powell himself brushed off queries on any potential presidential nod, but told ABC News Wednesday afternoon that he would not be going to Denver. "I do not have time to waste on Bill Kristol's musings,” he said. “I am not going to the convention. I have made this clear."

In February, Powell told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he was weighing an endorsement of a Democrat or Independent candidate. “I am keeping my options open at the moment,” said Powell.


“I have voted for members of both parties in the course of my adult life. And as I said earlier, I will vote for the candidate I think can do the best job for America, whether that candidate is a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent,” he added.

Powell also offered praise for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, calling him an “exciting person on the political stage.

“He has energized a lot of people in America,” said Powell, who briefly weighed his own run for the White House in the mid-1990s. “He has energized a lot of people around the world. And so I think he is worth listening to and seeing what he stands for.”

On Wednesday, Powell’s adviser said that "he likes and admires John McCain, and that would be a factor in anything he does if he decides to get more involved."

Another source close to Powell said that he has known McCain for more than three decades “and likes him, and is looking for a reason to vote for him. He hasn't found it yet."

The former general, who has largely steered clear of politics since leaving the Bush administration in 2004, noted that the next president will need to work to restore America’s standing in the world.

“I will ultimately vote for the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years,” he said. “A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America. Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years.”

On Wednesday, Powell’s adviser said that the vice presidential picks for both candidates would be a major factor in his decision, both for the quality of each man’s running mate and what sort of “signal that choice sends about the character and judgment of the candidate."

He also said that a Powell decision to back Obama would not be a surprise – but a decision to attend the Democratic convention would be.


Filed under: Colin Powell
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian

    PLEASE STOP STALLING!

    COLIN POWELL YOU ARE EITHER ON BOARD OR YOU ARE NOT!
    BUT PLEASE MAKE A DECISION.

    WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU AS A VP IF YOU CAN SHOW US THAT THIS IS NOT JUST A REPUBLICAN TRICK.

    THE LONGER YOU STALL THE MORE WE TEND TO DISTRUST YOUR SUPPORT! SO PLEASE LET US KNOW WHERE YOU STAND!

    August 13, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  2. Duop

    The source is a pure-liar who is trying to get public attention before the 2008 DNC convention in Denver.

    August 13, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Marty, FL

    Powell said, "...the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years. A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America."

    Many Americans believe Obama offers that type of vision Powell describes.

    Obama '08

    August 13, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Blaque

    How come no one calls Colin Powell and / or Condi Rice racicst for backing Obama .. PURELY because of his color ??
    If the roles were reversesd and a white man was supporting another purely because of this skin color .. the media and the public would be so offended ..

    August 13, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  5. TonyinKentucky

    By his criteria it's obvious he's on the Obama bandwagon and is trying to be kind to McCain.

    Read what he said and try to plug McCain into the statement. It's not plausible.

    August 13, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  6. Barack the Vote!

    Colin Powell, one of the top people in this country, BY ANYONE'S STANDARD! Well regarded, highly respected and a top individual who uses diplomacy at every turn. Colin Powell knows what this country needs, especially having worked in the Bush Administration, and he pretty much has said it needs " a visioin that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America. Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years." Pretty clear he's NOT TALKING ABOUT JOHN McCAIN based on his statement in paragraph 9 of this article in which he states, "he has known McCain for more than three decades and he likes him and is looking for a reason to vote for him. HE HASN'T FOUND IT YET."

    Colin Powell – YES WE CAN. BARACK THE VOTE!

    August 13, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. Colin Powell is for Obama

    “I will ultimately vote for the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years,” he said. “A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America. Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years.”

    Yep, he's for Obama. It's obvious. It sure isn't McCain that "reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore FAVORABLE ratings to America." You tell me who would the world rather see as president, McCain or Obama? I think Obama proved that on his world trip.

    August 13, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  8. ron powell

    I have enormous respect for General Powell and would have probably voted for him if he would have run for president. He should endorse Senator Obama because, to me, it would help rehabilitate his legacy, which has been seriously tarnished by his speech to the United Nations, the substance of which has been discredited by all but the most partisan Bush apologists. I'm not blaming General Powell, but to paraphrase Bob Dylan, "He was only a pawn in their game."

    August 13, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  9. Rickymo

    Why woudl anyone want his endorsement? he lied about Iraq and the WMD at the UN. He has no credibility with anything...had he told the truth the whole world would be a better place now..

    August 13, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. TJFRMLA

    I said a long time ago when O was meeting with Bloomberg and Powell...CP would eventually endorse Barack Obama. While some may still be pissed he didn't do more to stop Bushco...I for one welcome the endorsement. Many military families STILL see Colin Powell as a honorable man. We can use his and their support.

    August 13, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. Mizzy

    Join us Colin Powell!
    Help return some measure of dignity and respect to our Oval Office!
    Your leadership, despite the Iraq hoodwink, is greatly needed.

    August 13, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. Roger from CA

    As much as I would love it to be true, I'm not going to hold my breath that Powell endorses Obama. Powell is pretty close to the "mythical" John McCain–the maverick who bucks the Republican orthodoxy (though, in Powell's case, he actually does). It may be pretty tough for him to break cleanly away from the Repubs....

    August 13, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  13. DR. YES

    he will endorse obama on the third night when he accepts the nomination for vice president.

    August 13, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  14. Michael G- Ventura ca

    I believe that his endorsement is forth-coming. He KNOWS we can't have more of the same!

    August 13, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  15. PUMA 4 HILL

    And if he endorses Obama it will only be about PRIDE.

    Now, Colin Powell is an Black Man I could and would vote for. He is a patriotic American who has served his country.

    Obama has done NOTHING.

    Now, am I racist?

    August 13, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. Pat

    I'm not surprised he's waiting. The Only Wiseman in the Bush Administration knew enough to jump ship before it went down. When they said that Colin Powell left the building I knew we were in for tuff times! A genius never keeps company with fools.

    August 13, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  17. 17 year old future politician

    The fact that Condi and Powell have yet to make a decision after receiving paychecks from Republicans, may just mean they are voting Obama...however if they do vote Republican my viewpoint of their decision making skills won't be altered...they are truely both great leaders

    August 14, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  18. 17 year old future politician

    **** my bad they don't get paychecks from Republicans... rather, they both worked with Republicans****

    August 14, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  19. LJinLA

    Colin Powell's service to this country was the last time the international scene was handled with any level of respect.
    I think it speaks volumes to the issue of experience and judgement that a former General, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State feels that this country needs a clean break to a new course led by a highly intelligent, charismatic leader. It's too bad far too many people fail to realize the pecking order of life. When people meet, one cedes to the other. Sometimes the difference in that order is very minimal, other times it is enormous. Obama wins that placement in the pecking order more often than not.
    Crooks and criminals understand this better than most, and feast off of the scores of people they can dominate.
    Why can't otherwise intelligent beings realize that we need to put a leader in office that is going to change the equation in this country that will benefit the overwhelming majority of us in the good ole U.S., and abroad.

    You think Putin is laughing at Obama? He at least is likely to give him credit for not talking crap he can't back up.
    McCain is selling so may wolf tickets, he could fill Invesco Stadium. As in the boy who cried wolf...
    We need to regroup as a nation and figure out what the heck is going on, and what we are doing before we get embarrased. If McCain is llowed to continue the status quo, WE ALL will collectively regret people being so stupid. You would have thought we as a nation would have learned after W was led through the biggest failures in this country's history. I think the one line speaks volumes – "It took 42 presidents over 200 years to build a 5 trillion dollar debt. Number 43 did 4 trillion dollars all by himself. NINE TRILLION DOLLARS. WE PAY FOR IT. If you cannot say you are benefitting from high oil prices, or have no concerns about the cost of gas, YOU ARE NOT A MODERN DAY REPUBLICAN. The MDR's need your votes, and appreciate them, but you are not invited to the party.

    Save us all. Swalow your pride, hatred, or blind alliegance, and punch the ballot for Barack Obama.

    August 14, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
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